Gary O’Neil is fired by Bournemouth, and Andoni Iraola is appointed as the team’s new head coach for a two-year period.
Andoni Iraola has been named as Bournemouth’s new head coach, taking over for Gary O’Neil, who was fired earlier on Monday.
Iraola, a 40-year-old Spaniard, left Rayo Vallecano to sign a two-year deal with the Cherries when his Rayo Vallecano contract expired.
Seven months after being appointed the club’s permanent manager and guiding them to Premier League safety, O’Neil was fired.
Bill Foley, the chairman, declared that he and the club were “so happy to welcome Andoni.”
Rayo Vallecano was led to 11th place in the Spanish top flight by Iraola during his three seasons there.
He led the Madrid club to promotion from Segunda Division in his first season in charge, and in the 2021–22 season, he led them to the Copa Del Rey semifinals.
As his contract in Spain was set to expire this summer, Foley continued, “we needed to move quickly.
“He was much sought after by other clubs across the continent, and we made this choice in part because of his playing style. His accomplishments in Spain have undoubtedly been noteworthy, and we are certain that he is the ideal candidate to head up our upcoming chapter.
Iraola began his managing career in 2018 with AEK Larnaca in Cyprus. The following year, he returned to Spain to work under manager Mirandes for one season.
Iraola, a former right back, played more than 500 times for Athletic Bilbao and was awarded seven caps for Spain. He participated in Major League Soccer for New York City as well.
Iraola will join the Bournemouth team when preseason kicks off in July.
Foley, who is also the owner of Bournemouth, continued, “We have identified a number of targets in the transfer market, which along with our January additions will supplement our strong playing squad to give Andoni the best chance to consolidate our Premier League status and keep progressing.”
Iraola is a creative thinker who grew up with Arteta and has a habit of outperforming himself, starting with his playing career.
He spent 15 years playing for Athletic Bilbao, a team known for solely selecting Basque-born players. The club advanced to two Copa del Rey finals, a Europa League final, and the Champions League during his four seasons as captain.
He pushed Rayo to play in Europe earlier last season and guided them to promotion through the play-offs while serving as their manager.
Iraola’s Rayo had a reputation for being one of Spain’s best pressing teams, playing with a high block and pressuring opponents into mistakes in risky situations.
The most important matches have seen Rayo achieve some amazing results because to their aggressive yet adaptable style of play. They avoided losing to Barcelona and Atletico Madrid last season, beating La Liga champion Real Madrid as well as Sevilla and Villarreal. For the first time in their history, they defeated Barcelona twice the season before.
Iraola received his football training at the prestigious Basque club Antiguoko alongside Xabi Alonso, Mikel Arteta, and future teammate Aritz Aduriz before joining Bilbao’s junior academy.
Although he played for Bilbao for the majority of his career, he had the opportunity to train with renowned managers like Marcelo Bielsa, who took the team to two finals in 2012, and Ernesto Valverde, who would later coach Barcelona.